North Korea’s Kim Jong Un met Xi Jinping on surprise visit to China
North Korea leader Kim Jong Un made a surprise trip to Beijing, Chinese state media confirmed Wednesday.
Images broadcast on Chinese state television CCTV showed Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, meeting with officials during the trip. It took place from March 25 to 28.
The trip is Kim’s first abroad since he took the reins after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in late 2011. China is a traditional ally and major trading partner for North Korea.
The young North Korean leader held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and a handful of his deputies, including Li Keqiang, the Chinese premier, and Wang Qishan, the Chinese vice president who is considered one of Xi’s closest confidantes, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
State media quoted Kim as saying that he is committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
“The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,” Kim said.
Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, also held a welcome banquet for their visitors. Kim told his hosts that he chose China as his first overseas destination as leader to show “his will to carry forward the tradition of DPRK-China friendship, and how he valued the friendship between the two countries.”
“In this spring full of happiness and hopes, I believe my first meeting with General Secretary Xi Jinping will yield abundant fruits of DPRK-China friendship, and facilitate peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” said Kim.
Xi said Beijing is willing to work with North Korea to “promote long-term healthy and stable development of China-DPRK relations, benefit the two countries and two peoples, and make new contribution to regional peace, stability and development,” Xi said.
Rumors first surfaced about a potential visit by a high-level North Korean representative Monday night in Beijing, when pictures of what appeared to be the Kim family train surfaced online.
By Steven Jiang and Joshua Berlinger, CNN